What Questions Should a Dental Assistant Ask in an Interview?
Interviewing for a dental assistant position can be nerve-wracking. While you want to impress the dentist and stand out from other candidates, you also want to make sure the job is a good fit for you. Asking the right questions during your dental assistant interview is key to determining if the role and practice are what you’re looking for. Here are some of the top questions dental assistants should consider asking.
Getting a Sense of the Role and Responsibilities
- What does a typical day look like for a dental assistant in this practice? What duties am I expected to perform?
- How are tasks divided between the dental assistants and hygienists?
- How many patients will I be helping treat each day on average?
- What specific equipment and software programs do you use that I’ll need to learn?
- How much interaction will I have with patients versus hands-on clinical work?
- Are there opportunities for expanded duties or orthodontic assistant certification?
Asking about the day-to-day responsibilities will give you an idea of what the job entails. It will also show you have an interest in understanding the role before accepting it.
Learning About Support and Training
- How does the practice onboard and train new dental assistants?
- What opportunities are there for continuing education and professional development?
- Is there a structured mentorship program that pairs me with a senior dental assistant?
- Does the practice pay for or reimburse assistants for additional training and certification courses?
Finding out about the initial training and ongoing support will give insight into how invested the practice is in helping you succeed in the role. It also demonstrates you are eager to keep learning and advancing your skills.
Gauging the Work Environment and Culture
- How would you describe the work culture here? What is important to you in terms of teamwork and values?
- Why do you enjoy working here as a dentist?
- How is the team morale and comradery between staff members?
- How do you handle conflict or disagreements between team members if they arise?
- How often are team meetings and activities held?
Getting a feel for the office dynamic and company culture will reveal if it seems like an enjoyable and collaborative environment. This can greatly impact job satisfaction.
Confirming Scheduling, Benefits and Growth Opportunities
- What hours and days is the practice open, and what is the typical schedule for an assistant?
- Are dental assistants required to work some evenings and weekends? Is there flexibility in scheduling?
- What benefits do you offer employees, like health insurance, retirement plans, or paid time off?
- What opportunities are there for raises and advancement to lead assistant or management roles?
- Are full-time positions available or is part-time a possibility?
Questions about logistics like schedule, pay, and benefits are important to ask about any job. For dental assistants, availability requirements and advancement potential are useful to know as well.
Evaluating the Practice and Dentist’s Approach
- How would you describe your philosophy and approach to treating patients?
- What are the most common procedures performed here?
- What types of technology and equipment do you use in your practice? Are there plans to acquire advanced tools in the future?
- How do you stay up to date on the latest dental techniques and advances?
- Are specialists brought in to support complex or specialty procedures?
Learning about how the dentist cares for patients will offer insight into their leadership, values, and commitment to quality of care. It shows your interest in delivering excellent service as part of the dental team.
Should I ask about salary and pay during a dental assistant interview?
It’s perfectly reasonable to ask about the salary, hourly pay, or pay range for the position. Try framing it in terms of wanting to understand the compensation package rather than negotiating specific pay in the interview. You can also wait until a job offer is made to have an in-depth discussion of salary expectations.
What questions signal interest and enthusiasm?
Asking about training programs, advancement opportunities, why the dentist enjoys working there, and the practice philosophy demonstrates engagement. Mentioning you’re excited to join such a collaborative, skilled team also conveys enthusiasm.
Is it OK to ask about office cleanliness and infection control?
Yes, these factors directly impact your work environment and safety. It’s appropriate to politely ask what sterilization system is used and how OSHA and CDC infection control guidelines are followed. This shows you take protocols seriously.
- Ask about day-to-day duties and responsibilities to understand the scope of the job
- Inquire about training, support, and advancement to learn about growth opportunities
- Get a feel for office culture and team dynamics
- Confirm schedule, benefits, and pay information
- Evaluate the practice’s approach to patient care and use of technology
- Show enthusiasm for the position and interest in the practice
- Prepare 5-10 questions to ask that are thoughtful and relevant
Using your dental assistant interview to ask the right questions can help ensure the role and practice are a great match for your skills and professional goals.